A fun little debate has sparked between media personality Glenn Beck and Christian socialist Jim Wallis. I am not a frequent follower of Beck, though I think he has inflicted some damage to the forces of leftism. I do think he is much closer to the truth on this issue than his opponent. Let’s look at the issue.
On his radio show the other day, Beck said that the phrase “social justice” is a code phrase for pushing communism and fascism in churches. I agree with this. Beck said that anyone attending a church that pushes “social justice” should leave that church. These are mostly liberal churches, and therefore, again, I agree. Leave. Beck is right, “social justice” is a code phrase for socialism. It always has been. What happened next, however, conclusively proved that Glenn Beck was absolutely right about “social justice” in the churches: the most outspoken and highest profile Socialist in the Christian community blurted out in an angry tirade [link broken] against Beck and his comments. Despite the fact that Beck never even mentioned Wallis or his organization, Wallis has mounted a multi-post attack against Beck. The old saying is that if you throw a stone into a pack of dogs, the one that yelps is the one that got hit. Well, the Socialist yelped, and is still barking after two weeks. Methinks he doth protest too much. Oh, did I mention that Wallis is a spiritual advisor and long-time friend of President Obama?
I was first alerted to this back and forth when Wallis’ newsletter appeared in my inbox. I stay on his mailing list in order to keep up with him just in case. Wallis’ response to Beck was predictable. He argued,
But since the Catholic Church, the Black Churches, the Mainline Protestant churches, and more and more Evangelical and Pentecostal churches including Hispanic and Asian-American congregations all consider social justice central to biblical faith, Glenn Beck is telling all those Christians to leave their churches.
Two things in response: first, the appeal to race involved here is typical of leftists like Wallis, but abominable. Not all, even if most, blacks agree with leftism in their churches. Certainly not all agree with a Jeremiah Wright or James A. Forbes reparations and “get Whitey” type of social justice. The appeal to the racial categories here is a poor stereotype, and is, well, racist.
Secondly, and more importantly, by referring to all of these churches, including a growing number of “Evangelical and Pentecostal” groups, Wallis merely illustrates how widespread is the problem which Beck aired. Many of these groups do push socialism under the name of “social justice”; it’s because most of them are socialists. They were raised in a socialist setting, attended socialist public schools where they were taught socialism by socialists, went to socialist colleges, and expect socialist security to take care of them in old age if not now, too. They are socialists from cradle to grave, and the growing number of socialist churches is nothing but an expression of this.
It is also an expression of ignorance by the Christians who attend—ignorance as to the history of “social justice” and ignorance as to what the Bible says about social and governmental theft. Here Wallis tries to play the equivocation game, where he talks about social justice broadly, in general, however one wishes to define it, and not “social justice” as a socialist catch phrase—as if he has not advocated socialism and only socialism his whole career.
Christians may disagree about what social justice means in our current political context — and that conversation is an important one — but the Bible is clear: from the Mosaic law of Jubilee, to the Hebrew prophets, to Jesus Christ, social justice is an integral part of God’s plan for humanity.
I have refuted all of these misrepresentations of the Bible in God versus Socialism. Wallis wishes to use “the Bible” to legitimize social justice, but he and his ilk really mean “social justice.” He quickly tips his hand when he writes in a later post,
while we all preach empowerment to live out the gospel, we don’t think the meaning of social justice should be reduced to just private charity. Biblical justice also involves changing structures, institutions, systems, and policies, as well as changing hearts to be more generous. So there is still a lot to talk about here.
In others words, for Wallis, the Bible doesn’t teach freedom; it doesn’t “reduce” social justice to freedom and charity; it demands a powerful centralized government using guns and threats of violence and force to steal and redistribute (note to the wise: the government cannot redistribute what it has not first stolen).
Wallis refuses to rely on private charity as the Bible teaches, and always intends primarily government—i.e. coercive, point-of-the-gun, fines, jail—solutions for “empowerment.” So while he speaks of social justice, he means what Beck rightfully exposes, “social justice.” This game has gone on from the beginning of the Christian Socialist movement. This is why they adopted such a duplicitous phrase as “social justice” to begin with. I have written about this history here and here and many other places. In God versus Socialism I expose the same conscious scheme happening as early as 1889:
Another group of Boston social gospelers formed the Society of Christian Socialists in 1889, and immediately began publication of a monthly journal called The Dawn. An excerpt about its purpose reads:
The Dawn stands for Christian Socialism. By this we mean the spirit of the Socialism of the New Testament and of the New Testament church. In man’s relations to God, Jesus Christ preached an individual gospel; accordingly in their relations to God, Christ’s disciples must be individualists. In man’s relations to man, Jesus Christ preached a social gospel; accordingly, in these relations, his disciples must be socialists.
Notice the squirrely switch between the use of the capitol “S” “Socialism,” and the call for Christians to be lower-case “s” socialists. By the same logic, all humans are Humanists, all rational people Rationalists, all who take communion are Communists, and all people who eat cereal, Serial Killers. These guys knew Jesus didn’t call for Socialism, meaning government-power to redistribute wealth. Yet they could play off of the fact that Jesus called us to be just and honest in our social life among our fellow man—thus, we should all be good socialists. Once the Christians get on board with “socialism” and helping the poor in general, then the latent appeals for government Socialism start coming to the fore, as Christians are taught that all property should be socialized, “managed,” and receive “equitable distribution.”
A publication called The Christian Socialist, begun in 1903, even revealed the seeds of environmental politics and communism: “In our Christian Socialist fellowship the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, the Earth for all, and loyalty to the International Socialist Movement as the means of realizing the social ideal of Jesus, seem the essential points.” The paper inspired a group of men to form The Christian Socialist Fellowship. (I often wonder when I hear about all these tiny little groups of socialists forming: why is a movement allegedly so unified and solidified yet so fragmented among each other. Splits after splits after fallout after attrition. These guys are worse than Presbyterians!)The Christian Socialist itself assumed to speak to the Socialist Party, and held conferences inviting all those “who thoroughly believe in the Christianity of Socialism and the Socialism of Christianity—who are loyal to the Socialist Party.…” The movement could not care less about Jesus, except insofar as His name attracted Christians and helped it gain political power.
This new Fellowship aimed “to permeate the churches… to show that Socialism is the necessary economic expression of the Christian life; to end the class struggle by establishing industrial democracy and to hasten the reign of justice.…” In keeping with the theme of wolves in sheep’s clothing, The Christian Socialist—wishing to “permeate the churches”—printed a long abstract of Marx’s Capital and constantly asserted its loyalty to the Socialist Party., 
Wallis, who is a raging radical Socialist, critic and ridiculer of those who fled bloodthirsty Communistic regimes (“social justice,” you see, redistribution of wealth, is important even when the government is taking the heads and raping the wives of the dissidents), is still playing this code word game. Like them Wallis still wishes to “permeate the churches” with his radical politics. This is why he was so disturbed by Beck’s comments—Beck pulled back the curtain.
Since there are indeed many Christians who attend churches where this program is pursued, and may by osmosis and emotion be persuaded toward socialist measures, the following lesson should be understood:
There are thousands of Biblical passages and example that call for helping the poor and relieving the oppressed. Wallis and his ilk are right to point this out. But there is not a single verse that authorizes government to redistribute wealth for this purpose. Wallis and his ilk never mention this. There is no passage that allows government to coerce giving, impose socialistic schemes, to use force to take from some people and give to others. Taking private property—whether done by individuals or by governments—the Bible describes and condemns as theft and corruption. There are dozens of passages that teach this and none that justify socialism.
The funny thing is that Wallis, I really believe, thought he had turned the tables on Beck. Little did he know Beck was just flushing him out, and it worked. Beck more recently said he has been compiling data on Wallis dark history for eight weeks now. He tells Jim, “The hammer is coming.” I can’t wait. Wallis is a duplicitous fraud, shyster, and advocate of systematic government violence and theft—all in the name of Jesus, helping the poor, and “social justice.” Beck threw out the bait, and Wallis seized it. The hook has been set. Wallis is now wriggling as he awaits the frying pan.
This is why he is now recurringly writing to Beck asking for “dialogue.” Despite the fact that Wallis insinuated Beck is “strange” and money hungry, and said Christians should think of Beck like they think of the pornographer Howard Stern, Wallis now asks Beck not to engage in personal attacks. Ha. Beck is about to expose the history of corruption, theft, and death associated with “social justice” in this country. It won’t be personal, but Wallis and the Leftist church abusers are going to get hammered in the process—and he knows it.
None of this is to say, by the way, that I support Glenn Beck across the board. Even in this brief exchange I find serious points of disagreement. He argues for “separation of church and state” as the American way, which misunderstands the Constitution and has nothing to do with the issues at hand. He argues, it seems, that Jesus and God don’t have any political views and should not be brought into the political arena. This view is just as dangerous as Wallis’ radicalism, and in fact, allows it to prosper. Without moral law as the anvil, Beck’s “hammer” will swing against nothing. And where does this moral law come from? Nature? Spare me! This is where Marx got his ideas to begin with, and Wallis from Marx. Do Marx, Wallis, and Beck share the same basis for ethics? I would love to go on Beck’s show and discuss these problems with him.
In the mean time, I wait for the exposé of Wallis and the Left in this country that Beck has planned. I have started this same critique in God versus Socialism. I will be grateful to see it played out on another level.
 Charles Howard Hopkins, The Rise of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism, 1865–1915 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940), 171.
 Charles Howard Hopkins, The Rise of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism, 1865–1915 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940), 233.
 Charles Howard Hopkins, The Rise of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism, 1865–1915 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940), 236, 237.
 Charles Howard Hopkins, The Rise of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism, 1865–1915 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940), 235.
 Charles Howard Hopkins, The Rise of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism, 1865–1915 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940), 241.
 Joel McDurmon, God versus Socialism: A Biblical Critique of the New Social Gospel (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2009), 212–213.